What does differentiation mean in biology

Differentiation is the process by which a cell specializes, acquiring the ability to perform certain functions, and failing to develop others. It occurs by differential activation of some genes and the repression of others. It changes the function of the cell, its size, shape, and metabolic activity.


The differentiation of cells occurs not only in embryonic development but also in the adult body. It is very important but also a very complex process. It occurs multiple times during the development of a multicellular organism, as it changes from a simple zygote to a complex of specialized tissues and organs.


Cellular differentiation in animals and plants 

The process of cell differentiation and development in plants and animals does not occur identically. In animals, movements of cells and tissues must occur for organisms to obtain a three-dimensional conformation that characterizes them. Furthermore, cell diversity is greatly higher in animals.

In contrast, plants do not have a span of growth only in the early stages of the individual’s life; they can increase in size all over the life of the plant.

Process of differentiation

Process: During the differentiation process, the cells undergo a series of changes in their characteristics and a readjustment occurs in their mutual relationships.

The main changes are:

  • Alterations in cellular content
  • Differential growth in neighboring cells
  • Changes in the structure of the cell walls
  • Readjustments between cell

Factors and characteristics of differentiation



Its characteristics are below

  • Persistence
  • Irreversibility
  • Stability
  • Universality

Now let see its example


The example of the differentiation is stem cells, while neurons are one of the most differentiated cells known. Cell differentiation takes place fundamentally thanks to controlled changes in the transcriptional program; that is, coordinated changes in gene expression.

Another example, a monocyte develops into a macrophage, a promo blast develops into a myoblast, which forms a muscle fiber, forming syncytium. Division, differentiation, and morphogenesis are the main processes that ensure the development of a single cell (zygote) of a multicellular organism containing cells of a wide variety of species.

What are Undifferentiated cells?

Undifferentiated cells are opposite of differentiation. It is a frequent form of basal cell life process invertebrates or amphibians, where a differentiated cell back to a previous state in the development process generally associated with regenerative.

Dedifferentiation occurs naturally in plants when secondary meristems originate.

For example, the phylogeny, meristem responsible for the formation of secondary protective tissues, originates from the dedifferentiation of epidermal and/or subepidermal cells.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Content

link to Photosystem 1 vs Photosystem 2 Definition Differences and Comparisons

Photosystem 1 vs Photosystem 2 Definition Differences and Comparisons

There are two multicomponent complex organometallic membrane systems that accept light with wavelengths of 700 nm and 680 nm, respectively. Each photosystem is replenished by the electrons lost as a result of the secondary electron deficiency of an electron, but the source of the electrons is different for the PS II that obtains its electrons […]
link to Vertical Vs Horizontal Laminar Flow Definition Differences and Comparison

Vertical Vs Horizontal Laminar Flow Definition Differences and Comparison

A Laminar flow cabinet is an enclosed workstation that has been utilized to create a safe work environment through filtration devices to capture everything flowing through the cabinet in biological research laboratories. There are two main types of it which are horizontal and vertical laminar flow hood. In a laminar-flow system, air moves at the […]